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Cerberus to play active role in European bank consolidation — Reuters

VIENNA, March 5 (Reuters) – U.S. investor Cerberus Capital Management will play an active role in European banking consolidation, it said on Thursday, sending the strongest signal yet it could soon exit its majority stake in Austrian lender BAWAG PSK.

“In general our philosophy is we are a long-term investor but that being said we are consistently evaluating strategic alternatives. Certainly as there is European banking consolidation we see ourselves as a big part of that, Cerberus in general,” Cerberus executive and BAWAG supervisory board member Keith Tietjen told Reuters after BAWAG boosted 2014 profit by 45 percent.

BAWAG Chief Financial Officer Anas Abuzaakouk said the lender aimed to keep its common equity tier 1 ratio above 12 percent of risk-weighted assets and would cut net costs by five to 10 percent this year from the 499 million euros ($552 million) it booked in 2014.

($1 = 0.9048 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields and Angelika Gruber; Editing by Mark Potter)